Skip to main content
Classics and discoveries from around the world, thematically programmed with special features, on a streaming service brought to you by the Criterion Collection.
The Hands of Orlac
Directed by Robert Wiene • 1924 • Austria
Starring Conrad Veidt, Alexandra Sorina, Fritz Kortner
Reuniting the star and director of THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, THE HANDS OF ORLAC is a deliriously twisted thriller that blends Grand Guignol chills with the visual and performance styles of German Expressionism. Based on a novel by medical-horror specialist Maurice Renard, it charts the mental disintegration of Paul Orlac (Conrad Veidt), a concert pianist whose hands are amputated after a train crash and replaced with the hands of an executed murderer. When his father is murdered by the dead man’s hands, Orlac begins a steady descent into madness. Produced in Vienna just as psychoanalysis was emerging there, THE HANDS OF ORLAC writhes with sexual innuendo and striking Freudian imagery.